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Toronto After Dark 2010: Doghouse (Review #1)


Dir. Jake West (2009, UK, 89 mins.)

One thing should be said from the outset: this film is about cannibalistic, man-hating, female zombies hell-bent on wrecking a boy’s weekend out. If you found any part of that offensive, then move on to something else.

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Doghouse does not just throw political correctness out the window. In this poorly-wrought metaphor, Doghouse beats up political correctness, pees on it, and then lights it on fire. Doghouse is unapologetically trashy, decidedly lowbrow, rife with unfiltered rudeness, and, provided that you can calibrate your expectations to low-budget zombie mode, makes for an unbelievably fun night at the movies.

Seven friends, each walking out the door on relationship problems, head to the small town of Moodley for a ‘boy’s weekend,’ where they intend to mark their territory with urine and then drink until Moodley looks like Barbados – in short, they plan on justifying every Daily Mail editorial about the demise of British culture. Once in Moodley, however, they discover that all the women in town have become zombies, and a comedy of ineptness, gore, and an endless parade of inexplicably-themed zombie women ensues. The first zombie they encounter wears a wedding dress and wields an axe; perhaps a modern, zombified Miss Havisham? She is quickly joined by a barber zombie, a dentist zombie, a witch-shop zombie . . . needless to say, I could go on.

Like many comedy-horror films, Doghouse is full of laughs but few (if any) actual scares. Genuine terror is something exceedingly difficult to accomplish for any filmmaker, and frankly, the presence of a three hundred pound, middle aged, housewife zombie precludes anything remotely similar to terror. Thankfully, Doghouse delivers laughs: well-timed comedic violence, stupidity-induced slapstick, and masculine one-upmanship are the causes of the majority of the gags.

Doghouse is not the sort of film that will elicit mass appeal.  Its market is decidedly niche: low-brow zombie humour. To be sure, this is not a thinking person’s comedy – but if a person wanted to take a break from thinking, this would be the film to see.

– Dave Robson